Encouraging Independence & Reflection on Great Gatsby Soundtracks

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SWBAT synthesize several short essays evaluating characterization of main characters in Gatsby and articulating connections between those characterizations and songs of their choosing.

Big Idea

Improve the odds of getting complete, supported, well-written essays by giving students class time & evaluation tools to keep them on track!


5 minutes

Today students will to have the majority of the hour to work on their Gatsby Soundtrack Projects, which are due at the start of next class period.  Because of the extracurricular activities at this point in the school year, I decided to make students a bargain to give them class time to work on this project.  In exchange, they promised to give their maximum effort during class.  In light of this, I will spend the first minutes of class reminding students of this agreement.  I will also answer any questions that students may have before getting started on their projects.

Individual Soundtrack Work

60 minutes

Next, students will work independently on their projects using the Gatsby Soundtrack Project Handout and my sample Thinglink project as examples.  While students are working, I will check in with students individually to answer questions, give suggestions, and keep students on track.  

Check out the resources for a student's sample project, which was truly outstanding!

When these projects are completed for class next time, I'll use the Great Gatsby Soundtrack Digital Rubric that I created to quickly and easily grade student work.  I love turning rubrics into Google Forms, because the spreadsheet response page can be set to quickly and automatically add up points earned!  (Gotta love when technology can take the math out of grading!)

Evaluation of Progress

20 minutes

Since students have had so much time to independently work on their projects today, I have added additional elements of self-assessment, evaluation, and reflection to today.  Just as teachers are accountable for their teaching, students should be accountable for their work in class as well. First, students will use the rubrics contained in the project guidelines handout to score the work so far and make notes for revision that they need to complete tonight.

Then, they will take a few minutes to truthfully fill out the Gatsby Soundtrack Progress Check Form.  I gather feedback about effort and time spent pretty routinely (like on every exam I offer and many of the quizzes), so students are aware that I don't use this information to punish them.  Instead, I find it to be more effective to use the information to figure out ways of better serving students.  If students know that there's not really recourse to not studying or giving little effort to the reading assignments, they are more likely to answer these questions truthfully.  These truthful responses are the ONLY way that you can really tell the difference between students that didn't give much effort reading and students that tried REALLY HARD, but just didn't understand the assignment.  That data is extremely valuable to me!  

Getting students in the habit of evaluating their own effort is also a really important piece of modeling successful working habits.  By requiring my students to reflect on their progress, effort, and time management, they will be forced to consider their own obligations as learners.  The more students do this, the more likely they are to start putting together those corresponding relationships that we ALL know exist (like little effort leads to lower grades, lack of studying leads to lower grades, and higher effort leads to higher grades).  My hope is that some day students can incorporate these evaluation strategies into their other coursework and into their lives to make themselves more reflective and productive!


5 minutes

In the last minutes of class, I will direct students to the Research, Job Shadowing, Modernism, & Gatsby Exam Review Guide.  We have been reviewing most of this material by using it in our day-to-day classes, but the chart on the second page will need to be completed in order to be ready for our test next class period.  I also linked all of the pertinent review materials to this review guide to help students sort through their documents more quickly to prepare for the test.  Though there are only two components that need to be filled out to receive credit, I will caution students that they should look through each attached document to completely review for the test. 

Next Steps

Next time I will answer any questions about the review guide before we take our test.  Then, I'll start the long journey of grading their Gatsby Soundtrack Projects!